At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John on the Jordan River to be baptized by him. John did not want to baptize him. He said, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you. And yet, you have come to me.” But Jesus answered him, ” Let it be so for now. We must do everything that God requires.” So , John agreed.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down upon him like a dove and settled on him. Then a voice came from heaven and said, “this is my own dear Son, with whom I am very pleased.”
The Spirit took Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. For forty days and forty nights, he had nothing to eat. He became very hungry. Then the Devil approached him and said; “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread so you can satisfy your hunger.” But Jesus answered him, “Human beings do not live on bread alone, but on every word that God speaks.”
Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and set him on the highest point of the Temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off from here for the Scriptures say that, “God will order his angels to hold you with their hands and not even your feet will touch the stones.'” But Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
The Devil then took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the cities of the world in all their glory and said, “I will give all these to you, but only if you kneel down and worship me.” Jesus answered him, “Go away Satan! The Scripture says, “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” Then the Devil left Jesus and angels came and served him.
Jesus was taken into the desert not by the Devil, but by the Holy Spirit to be strengthened and equipped for the task that lay ahead of him. The tests by the Devil were to form part of what Jesus would expect in his earthly ministry. We are also often taken into the wilderness to be tested in order to determine the strength of our faith. Jesus’ response to the tests should teach us how to respond in the face of temptation. Jesus knew the the Devil was making these offers to Jesus not for Jesus’ benefit, but for his (the Devil’s) benefit. He tempts us so that he can remove God’s protection from us and then get an opportunity to destroy us. Without us agreeing to his temptation, the Devil will have no power upon us.
Even at his weakest point, Jesus was still stronger than the Devil. The Devil realised that on the third temptation, and from henceforth he would obey any instruction given in the name of Jesus. That is why when Jesus orders him to go, he leaves. Jesus knew that the powers that he had were not given for his own sake, but for the sake of humanity. The baptism was not necessary for him, but he did it for our sake. That is why he could not turn the stones into bread even though he was hungry. He refused to accept control of the kingdoms of the world when a weakling like us would have been tempted to accept. He refused to jump from the top of the temple as he had nothing to prove to the Devil. The Devil has no power over us, but relies on the power that we give him. He would like to pretend that he still has power when he doesn’t. The Devil is actually a thief and a liar. The kingdoms that he offered to Jesus did not actually belong to him but belonged to God. Whatever he promises you is actually a trap so that he can abuse you at a later stage.
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It is important that we should be very discerning and be able to distinguish between things offered to us by God and those offered by the Devil. To do so, we need to be guided by the Holy Spirit. To receive the wholly spirit, we need to be baptized as Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan. The temptation of Jesus represents the victory of good over evil. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be with you. Amen.
WHEN THE Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they thought up a fresh question of their own. One of them, a teacher of the law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
JESUS answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment of them all. The second most important commandment is like this: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. This is the law and the prophets. All the laws of Moses and the teachings of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Matthew 22: 34-41.
25 On another occasion a teacher of the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus told a story: “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A short while later, a priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side and did not help him. 32 In the same way, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw the man, passed by on the other side and he also did not help him. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have incurred.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” Jesus asked.
37 The teacher of the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “ You are right. Go and do the same.”
You can read the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37.
The man who was attacked by the robbers happened to be a Jew and the priest and the Levite were also Jews. The Jews and the Samaritans, although they share Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their common ancestors, did not get along so well for reasons that we will learn in another lecture. But it was the Samaritan who had mercy on the injured man. At the time of Jesus, Samaria, the land of the Samaritans, lay between the Roman provinces of Judea and Galilee, which were Jewish states.
Good neighbourliness is virtually non-existent in today’s world. Our leaders are consistently teaching hatred, animosity and mistrust. The good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable, teaches us how to be good neighbours. It is true that crime is much more rampant today than it was at the time of Jesus. But, by the inclusion of robbers in the parable, Jesus shows that the situation was no different then as it is now. Good neighbourliness means that not only do you help others when they are in distress, but you also ensure that your actions do not harm your neighbours either deliberately or negligently. The Romans, during Jesus’ time spoke about the bonus paterfamilias as the personification of the standard of reasonableness with which everyone had to comply. The bonus paterfamilias was the fictitious good head of the family who ensured that, while he is part of the community and participates in most activities within the community, including commercial activities, his actions do not cause any harm to others. This was the standard that the Romans used to test whether a person acted negligently or not, by putting the bonus paterfamilias in the shoes of the person who has caused harm to another and then determining how the bonus paterfamilias would have acted had he been in the same situation as the person whose conduct is being judged. If his conduct falls short of that of the bonus paterfamilias, then he is guilty of negligence and is liable to compensate the victim by putting him in the same position that he was prior to negligent conduct . This is the standard that is still being used today, in courts all over the world, and in public life to decide on the issue of negligence.
Can China and the United States be good neighbours? Or Turkey and Greece and all of the Middle East countries? Are they capable of laying down their arms? Do we advance more through hostilities and violence than through peace and dialogue?
And Jesus said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that lies buried in a piece of land. Someone discovers the treasure, but immediately hides it again. Overwhelmed with happiness, he goes and sells everything that he owns in order to get enough money to buy that piece of land. He returns, purchases the land together with the hidden treasure. He becomes the new owner of the land and the treasure”
2. A Pearl Merchant:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant who is looking for fine pearls. When he finds one that is exceptionally good, he goes and sells everything he has and buys that pearl”
God is represented as the hidden treasure or the valuable pearl. In these parables, Jesus asks you to find God wherever He is hidden. And Whenever you find Him, “sell” everything that you own in order to secure the treasure. God can be found hidden in many things that will make our lives complete.
A young man was struggling with loneliness in his life when he met a beautiful and decent young woman who lived in his neighbourhood. He proposed love to her. She hesitated, but when he insisted, she agreed. He was convinced that he had finally found God in her. She made his life complete. He was so happy that he began preparations to leave everything he had in order to be with her. To his complete surprise, a few days later, she called him and told him that she no longer wanted to proceed with the relationship. She could not give any valid reasons for the sudden change of heart except for saying that she was engaged to someone else, which the young man could not believe as she had earlier told him that she was free and alone. The young man was so devastated because he was convinced that he had seen God in her and refused to accept that it was not possible for him to acquire the treasure which, according to him, was rightfully meant for him, but the young woman refused to see him or even to talk to him. The young man felt completely lost. He had lost the treasure which he valued so much. Does the story sound familiar? This sense of loss is how you should feel if and when you lose the treasure that Jesus refers to in these parables.
A young man and a young woman met at an early stage in their lives. They got married and lived together for many years during which they had three children. They were both teachers. Just when the man was about to go on retirement at the age of sixty, they decided to divorce. The treasure that they had discovered earlier in their lives remained hidden. The pressures of life caused them to lose focus and they grew tired of each other. They no longer saw each other as the valuable treasure that they had discovered earlier in their lives and for which they gave up everything they had at that point in their lives. They could no longer see the prospect of living together as husband and wife after retirement. They had found new treasures. The children had grown up and left home and were living their own lives. Nothing could make them see each other as the treasure that they once were. Often children can help us to appreciate the treasures that God has given us, but when the chicks leave the nest, we lose sight of the value of the treasure that we had found earlier in our lives. It should not be like that because it is that treasure that we value so much that will make the chicks to return to the nest from time to time.
Many people find their treasure in their children, which is again a very valuable treasure that God has given us. Whatever it is that makes you to see God, Jesus asks you in these parables to seek and find it and to treasure it so much that you are prepared to give up everything you have to get it. That way, if you look closer, you will see God in the treasures that you have just found.
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Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property now’. After the father tried to persuade his son not to claim his inheritance now, the father eventually relented and agreed to divide his property and gave his younger son his portion of the inheritance. A few days later, the younger son sold all his property, took the money and went to a far off country. There he spent all his money on reckless living. He spent everything he had. At that time a severe famine spread over that land and he was left without a thing. So he went looking for work and found employment with one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of his pigs.
He was so hungry that he wished he could feed himself on some of the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, “My father’s servants have more food than they can eat and here I am about to starve. I will go back to him and say: ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son. Treat me as one of your workers;”. So, the next day, he got up and started back to his father.
He was still along wayfrom the house when his father saw him. His father was filled with love and compassion and he ran towards him and embraced him. ‘Father’, the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you.I am no longer fit to be called your son’. But the father interrupted him and quickly called one of his servants and ordered him to bring a clean robe, a ring and sandals and to dress his son, and then go on to slaughter the fattest calf in the kraal, for they have to celebrate, because this son of his who was lost, has now been found. He was dead, and now he is alive. So they began to celebrate.
In the meantime,the elder son was out in the fields with work. When he returned, he heard the music and dancing coming from the house. So he asked one of the servants as to what was going on. The servant told him that his younger brother had returned home safe and his father had killed the prize calf so that they can celebrate his safe return. The elder brother was so angry that he even refused to go inside the house. When his father saw this, he went outside and asked him to come inside. The elder brother answered his father, ‘Look, all these years I worked for you like a slave, and I have always obeyed your orders. In all those years, what have you given me? Not even a goat that I can celebrate with my friends. Now that this prodigal son of yours has returned, after spending all your property with prostitutes, what do you do? You kill the prize calf for him.’
His father replied, ‘My son, you are always here with me and everything I have belongs to you. But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead and now he is alive. He was lost and now he has been found’.
THIS STORY, which is found in Luke 15:11-32, relates our relationship with God. Even though we always rebel against Him, refuse to listen and to obey Him, causing Him heartbreaks, God is always filled with love and mercy whenever we return to Him. The angels in Heaven are always celebrating whenever one sinner turn away from his wasteful living and return to God. I am going to tell you a secret that you have to promise to keep. Don’t tell anyone else because by telling you, I am breaking my promise to God. But this is something that I have to tell you. I think that this is the right place to disclose that secret which is only reserved for Heavenly beings and to a select few on this planet. THAT secret is that, God has a ‘problem’. The problem is that He has too much Love and Compassion that He has to give it away continuously. SOMETIMES We deserve that love and compassion as we have earned it by being obedient and good to Him. At other times we don’t deserve it because we have been bad and disobedient AND yet, we still receive it. AND EVERYTIME when He sees any of His creations suffering, His heart is filled with love, kindness and compassion again which He FREELY gives away. It is His NATURE to LOVE, to be KIND and to feel COMPASSION. In this parable, Jesus reveals that secret about the nature of GOD the FATHER.
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CORONA VIRUS: As the World fights an unprecedented onslaught from a deadly and an invisible virus, governments all over the World are looking at effective ways to deal with the pandemic and save millions of lives. At first, World governments resorted to total lock-down measures to isolate the virus and prevent its further spread among the population while preparing for the worst possible scenario. However, as the world economy crumbled under the weight of the lock-down, governments are now pressurised by calls from all kinds of civic organisations to relax the regulations. Meanwhile, the infection and death rates in many countries continued to rise and experts warned that with the relaxation of the emergency measures, it will get worse before it gets better. As religious institutions re-open, we have to turn to the Bible to see what lessons we can learn from there and what rules and regulations did God prescribe when His people were confronted with diseases of that nature.
FOURTY YEARS IN THE DESERT: We are grateful to modern medicine that we have a better understanding of pathogens today than our ancestors did thousands of years ago. However, there are instances such as this, when modern science also finds itself struggling to understand how to resolve disastrous situations that confronts our modern health systems. Between 1250 and 1210 BC, the Israelites (descendants of Jacob also known as Israel, son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham), were travelling out of Egypt towards the land then known as Canaan. They spent 40 years in the Sinai desert. During this journey, they encountered many difficulties, amongst which was hunger, thirst and disease. Their story is recorded in the book of Exodus. It was during this time that God gave the Israelites, through their leader, Moses, the Ten Commandments, which is a set of basic laws, according to which the Israelites had to live.
GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO ISRAEL:Then there were instructions that God gave the Israelites, through Moses, which were rules and regulations that would govern their day to day activities. Although these, unlike the Ten Commandments, were not not laws, but rules and regulations, their violation also resulted in severe sanctions for the offenders. We see in Leviticus 10: 1-3 that: ” 1. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu (they were anointed as priests earlier in Leviticus 8), each took his fire-pan, put live coals in it, added incense, and presented it to the Lord. But this fire was not holy, because the Lord had not commanded them to present it. 2. Suddenly the Lord sent fire, and it burnt them to death there in the presence of the Lord. 3. Then Moses said to Aaron, ” This is what the Lord was speaking about when he said, ‘All who serve me must respect my holiness; I will reveal my glory to my people’ In another translation, ‘Those who bring me offerings must realise that I am holy. Their respect for me must be seen by the whole nation”. Regarding alcohol, the Lord said to Aaron: Lev 10: 8: ” You and your sons (descendants) are not to enter the Tent of my presence after drinking wine or beer; if you do you will die. This is a permanent law for you and it must be kept by all future generations.”
DEALING WITH CONTAGIOUS DISEASES: Leviticus Chapter 11 deals with ceremonially clean and unclean animals. God’s instructions are that we should not touch those animals. If we do touch them, then we will also be ceremonially unclean and we will have to be quarantined until evening or for 7 or 14 days depending on the seriousness of the transgression. For a full list of these animals please read the chapter. Chapter 13 deals with contagious skin disease. If anyone has symptoms of a contagious skin disease, then they must go to Aaron or one of his sons who will examine them. If they confirm that the person is indeed suffering from a contagious skin disease, then the priest must pronounce the person to be ceremonially unclean and then the priest will put the infected person in quarantine for a period of seven days. On the seventh day, the priest will conduct another examination. If the affected area has not changed or has spread further, then the priest will extend the person’s quarantine for a further seven days. The priest will make another examination at the end of the seven days. If the affected area has faded and not spread, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean.
TODAY’S LEADERS: IT IS striking to see the similarities between what is described in Leviticus and what we are doing today in the fight against covid 19. The church can interpret these events for us better. The Israelites were able to survive as a nation by strictly adhering to these prescriptions. We hope that our leaders will be guided by God to find solutions to these problems.
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At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John on the Jordan River to be baptized by him. John did not want to baptize him. He said, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you. And yet, you have come to me.” But Jesus answered him, ” Let it be…
WHEN THE Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they thought up a fresh question of their own. One of them, a teacher of the law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” JESUS answered, “You must love the…
A Hidden Treasure: And Jesus said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that lies buried in a piece of land. Someone discovers the treasure, but immediately hides it again. Overwhelmed with happiness, he goes and sells everything that he owns in order to get enough money to buy that piece of land. He…
Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property now’. After the father tried to persuade his son not to claim his inheritance now, the father eventually relented and agreed to divide his property and…
In Leviticus chapter 12God says to Moses that he must give the Israelites the following instructions concerning childbirth, that: “if a woman gives birth to a child, she will be ceremonially unclean. If it is a son, she will be unclean for a period of seven days just as she is during menstruation. On the eighth day the boy must be circumcised. Then the woman must wait for a further period of 33 days to complete her purification from child birth. During this period, she must not touch anything that is holy. or go to the sanctuary until she completes her period of purification.”
If she gives birth to a daughter, then the period of seven days is doubled to 14 days and the period of 33 days is doubled to 66 days. Upon completion of these periods, she must bring a year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtle dove for a purification offering. She must take her offerings to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, who will then present them to the Lord to make atonement for her.Thereupon, she will be ceremonially clean again after bleeding at child birth.
If she cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtle doves or two young pigeons.One will be for the burnt offering and the second will be for purification. The priest will sacrifice them and the woman will be ceremonially clean.
In Matthew 21:12-13 we see Jesus clearing the Temple in Jerusalem, of those who were selling doves and sheep on temple premises. He says that they have turned the Temple into a den of thieves. This act by Jesus signaled the beginning of the end of animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins.
What is interesting however is to see that people today are still observing most of these traditions regarding child birth unaware that we are carrying out the instructions that God gave to Moses, while the Israelites were in the Sinai desert, some 3 400 years ago. Is it not interesting to see the similarities between what we do today and what the Israelites did then. What these scriptures can teach us is that after all, we are originally from one parent no matter how different we may be today. Knowing that, do we still have any reason to fight amongst ourselves, or are there more reasons for us to maintain peace? This may precisely be the reason why the United Nations exists. To show us that we have more in common than what differentiates us.
CORONA VIRUS: As the World fights an unprecedented onslaught from a deadly and an invisible virus, governments all over the World are looking at effective ways to deal with the pandemic and save millions of lives. At first, World governments resorted to total lock-down measures to isolate the virus and prevent its further spread among…
FOR FURTHER READING PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK: The Jesus Ministry. The story of creation is a very wonderful story. According to the first story of creation, God created heaven and earth, the oceans, rivers, mountains, fruit bearing and non-fruit bearing trees and plants, mammals of all kinds, sea and fresh water creatures, the birds…
In this article, we take a closer look at the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. We find the story in Genesis 4:1-16. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden because of their disobedience, they had two sons, Cain and Abel. As the boys grew up,…
The story of creation is a very wonderful story. According to the first story of creation, God created heaven and earth, the oceans, rivers, mountains, fruit bearing and non-fruit bearing trees and plants, mammals of all kinds, sea and fresh water creatures, the birds of the sky, sea birds, reptiles. In short every living and non-living thing, He created. He also created man.
In the second story of creation, God creates man from the dust of the earth, breathes life giving air into him, and brings all the animals that he has created to him and every word that the man exclaims as the animals go pass him, that becomes their name. So elephants, lions, whales, dolphins etc were named. God created a garden with all kinds of fruit trees and beautiful flowers and berries, with streams and birds singing from the trees. It was a very beautiful garden. God placed the man in the garden, in charge of the garden, and told him that he could eat the fruits from any tree in the garden except fruits from the tree of knowledge.
Soon God realised that the man was lonely. He had every beautiful thing in the garden, but there was one thing that he was missing. In all of the animals in the garden, the man could not find a suitable companion. Not even man’s best friend could fulfill the role. The man could appreciate all of God’s creation, but his appreciation was incomplete. He needed someone to share these wonders of the world with him. God resolved that He would create a companion for Him. While the man was in a deep sleep, God removed a rib from the side of the man and out of it, He created a companion for him. Someone like him. When He brought her to him, the man’s happiness knew no bounds. He called her woman, because out of him she was created. It was love at first sight. Soon thereafter, they were married. And the marriage officer? God Himself. And as he married them, He uttered the most famous words that have been echoed for thousand of years, “And that is why a man will leave his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one.“ Adam and Eve did not have any clothes for their wedding, but they were not ashamed nor worried. They were just happy to be together. Two love birds, tied together by their love and respect for each other. They had no one else in the, but themselves. And they thanked God for giving them the marriage. That is the story of the first marriage according to the biblical account. The story of the first couple.
WHAT DOES IT TEACH US? WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM IT?
Points to take Home: God’s creations are not meant to be enjoyed alone. Neither are they meant to be alone. We all need a companion to walk with us along the journey. You cannot fully appreciate the wonders of creation if you do it alone. You need a spiritual companion with whom you can share your thoughts, fears admiration and understanding of God. Pray to God to help you find that companion with whom you can share your growth.
Please tell us what your opinions are on today’s scripture. It is found in the book of Genesis chapters 1 & 2. If you need any assistance in your spiritual journey, please do not hesitate to contact us in the comments below. IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY difficulties in your relationship, there is a book that we recommend that you look at for guidance. Press Ctrl+Click (Ctrl and Click) on the link below to access the videos and if you are interested, you may even purchase the e-book:https://bit.ly/3fM0kx3
In Leviticus chapter 12 God says to Moses that he must give the Israelites the following instructions concerning childbirth, that: “if a woman gives birth to a child, she will be ceremonially unclean. If it is a son, she will be unclean for a period of seven days just as she is during menstruation. On…
In this article, we take a closer look at the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. We find the story in Genesis 4:1-16. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden because of their disobedience, they had two sons, Cain and Abel. As the boys grew up, they both became farmers. Cain was a grain farmer and Abel a livestock farmer.
As time went on, Cain harvested his crops and the land was good for him. He took some of his harvest and offered a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel also took the best of his lambs and also offered them to the Lord. They did so by burning their offerings. God was very pleased with Abel’s offering, but was not so pleased with Cain’s offering. The smoke from Abel’s offering made a long straight line pointing to the sky, a sign of approval, while the smoke from Cain’s offering was blown sideways in all directions, indicating God’s displeasure as Cain had taken second rate grain from his harvest to offer to the Lord.
Cain was not happy with this state of affairs as he felt that as the elder brother, God should accept him first before Abel could get any recognition. He showed his displeasure by pulling an angry face making it clear to God that he was not happy. Noticing this, God asked Cain as to why was he angry. “Would it not be easier for you to do the right thing and then you would also be happy like your brother is?”God further warns Cain that as long as he is angry and fails to correct that by doing what is right, sin is knocking on his door and it wants to devour him. “Cain should do the right thing” says God, “…and then he will prevail over the sin”.
Cain does not listen to God. Instead, consumed by his anger, he lures his brother, Abel, into the fields, where he attacks him and kill him. He buries his body in a shallow grave in the fields. Upon realisising what Cain has done, God confronts him and ask him as to where his brother was? Cain responds by saying: “Am I supposed to be my brother’s keeper”. God accepts this statement from Cain as an indication that Cain has no defence to the charge and He returns a verdict of guilty as charged for the murder of Abel. God further accepts from Cain’s statement that he has no remorse for the murder and indicates to him that his brother’s blood is crying for vengeance from the very ground where it was spilled. With that God imposes a life sentence in the wilderness/desert on Cain (no prisons as yet), where the land will no longer be productive. Only once the sentence has been passed does Cain begin to understand the seriousness of his actions. He pleads with God for mercy and a reduction of sentence to which God indicates that sentence has already been passed and it would be setting a wrong precedent for generations to come, if He were to reverse His own judgments and that a life sentence was, in any event, the only appropriate sentence for the offence that Cain has been convicted of. The best that He could do for him under the circumstances, was to promise him protection while he is serving his sentence in the wilderness. Cain reconciles himself to his fate and God marks him with a chip as a sign that he is under God’s protection wherever he will be serving his life sentence. What happens to Cain afterwards is a story for another day.
On analysing the text, a few points appear from the story in a very striking manner, that:
God has always been closer to humans than we realise. After Cain’s offering fails to please God, Cain is angry. God approaches him and warns him of the dangers of resorting to anger to resolve a problem. God tells him that the best thing for him to do is to get rid of his anger by making the correct offering and thereafter, Cain, like Abel, will be happy. Here we realise how simple God’s solutions are to our problems. Do the right thing and you will be happy. Nothing complicated. it is a simple mathematical formula. Do the right thing = Happiness.
If we fail to get rid of our anger, God informs us, sin will surround us with the intention of overpowering us. Again it is a very simple formula. You fail to get rid of the anger = sin = overpowering you = problems. Cain does not listen to God. His parents should have taught him what the consequences of disobedience are. Sin overpowers him. He kills his brother Abel and buries him in a shallow grave hoping to hide the evidence. What he does not know is that you cannot hide anything from God. When God confronts him about the murder, he assumes an arrogant attitude and says that he is not his brother’s keeper.
Leviticus Chapters 4 and 5 speaks about the procedure for forgiveness of sins that were committed without any intention by different categories of people. God also forgives people who are truly remorseful. In this instance, although his crime was very serious, Cain was a first offender and could have gotten away with a 10 or 15 years banishment. However, his response during the hearing indicates a clear absence of remorse. That is why he receives a life sentence. Even in this instance, God was still merciful as He could have imposed the death penalty on Cain. He did not.
In summary, what we learn here is that doing wrong things leads to anger, which leads to sin, which leads to punishment, ie spending the rest of your life in the desert. The opposite of that is that doing the right thing leads to happiness and peace and spending the rest of your life surrounded by your loved ones.